John, Special Inspector
Making a difference in the local community and becoming a better person.
John discovered the special constabulary through a friend and grew curious about what the role entailed, having previously been interested in joining Avon and Somerset Police as a paid officer, he did some research and decided to apply in 2018.
As a member of cabin crew in his full-time position, John describes being well accustomed to using de-escalation as his first line of defence: “Mid-Atlantic, if something happens there is no one coming to help you – you and your colleagues must deal with that. I feel that my experience complements my Police Officer role well and allows me to put my skills to good use.”
My way of giving back to society
One of the things John is most proud of is his Royal Humane Society award for restoration to human life, which he received after performing CPR on a man who had been arrested.
He continues: “Being a police officer, one of the things I find overwhelming is the amount of responsibility that you carry. You need to take everything you do and every job you go to very seriously because of the amount of risk and responsibility, and the lives that are potentially on the line. It’s difficult to carry around with you – that can be tough”.
John was deployed during the Bristol riots and describes his equal involvement and treatment from colleagues. Crewed alongside his old tutor, he is proud to have been a part of restoring order to his own city, and performed the same duties as his paid colleagues.
“We have a sworn oath to do exactly the same job as our regular colleagues. We retain the same level of knowledge and get inadvertently tested on the knowledge of legislation and powers every day I order to make effective decisions. The commitment is worth it”.
“I am grateful for my team and the friends, acquaintances, and connections I have made. One of the reasons I keep coming back is that my regular colleagues want me to come back, they really appreciate who we are and what we do, and I enjoy giving support to both the regular and specials team.
“I can see the real difference I make, not only to the communities I serve, but also to the constabulary. We help out and reduce demand as much as possible – it’s a good feeling. The thank you at the end of the shift is great.”
Becoming a Supervisor
John applied to become a special sergeant, and in turn special inspector, in order to provide support to other special constables.
John says “I wanted to play my part and push for changes and improvements. I help to raise the special constabulary’s profile both throughout Avon and Somerset Police and Bristol, and enjoy working alongside other officers and special supervisors”.
It’s made me a better person
John describes how his experience in the special constabulary has helped realise his potential. “I’ve learned that I am much more resilient than I thought I was. Friends and family told me “You’ll never make a cop” but I have surprised both them and me.
I have seen some difficult things and learned a lot about myself. I’m more in tune with my emotions and feel much more able to talk about how I feel; as a man, we bottle things up. I’ve learned that it’s good to talk and I share how I feel with my colleagues. The support I have received and continue to receive is absolutely invaluable”.
“My experience within the special constabulary has changed me as a person. I feel incredible lucky for the number of skills I have picked up, including Response Driving, Public Order training, and Medic courses. I would not have learned them anywhere else or gained this level of expertise anywhere else – and these skills have benefited my full-time work”.
Come and have a go
John recommends that anyone interested in applying to volunteer in the special constabulary or who is curious about police work should use the Avon and Somerset ride along scheme.